Posted by: 347bennetrd | March 7, 2010

Real City Girl Down South – Day 1 By Gayle Pierce

With the impending move back to Ireland coming ever closer, the trip down South to spend time with Jo was a very welcome distraction. Little did I realise that this trip was not going to be the chilled out weekend I had envisaged, but a crash course in Otago farming.

Early morning rise on Saturday (for me that is); with it brought a driving lesson on the 4 wheel bike and then a driving lesson on the truck.  Feeling a tad nervous and not wanting to look like a ‘real city girl’, I concentrated extremely hard on Jo’s very patient instructions. Grand, mastered the art of driving forward and reversing! Whoohoo, onto the next task.

Farm Girl

First job of the day was to drive up to the back of the farm to muster some sheep. Jo and I travelled in the truck with her dogs, Blu and Bronc, with Jo’s dad ahead on the two-wheel bike with his dog, Jasper. At this stage I wasn’t even thinking I would be doing anything other than driving, but lo and behold we get to the top of this ridge and Jo says to park up. There are some sheep hanging around where they shouldn’t be and Jo has to use the dogs to get them through an open gate to be with their mates. I watch in awe as Jo yells some random words to her dog who appears to understand and dutifully guides the sheep on their merry way. This is the first time I have seen anything like this so although Jo trys to tell me that her dad could do the same job in half the time, I am extremely impressed with her newfound talent.

So on we drive up to the back high country. (I would like to take a moment to explain that before this day I did not know the meaning of the word ridge, muster, wallago – so this in itself is a major achievement for me!).

This part of the farm is absolutely stunning, the scenery is something which I hope to remember forever. I was trying to think of what the landscape reminded me of, it is so peculiar to look at. I first thought of acne scarred skin with its bumpy, ridged surface but then Jo’s dad, Pat, said that someone once said it reminded them of the surface of the brain and that’s absolutely right.

On the way back, after guiding the sheep into the next paddock, Pat noticed a broken fence so ‘we’ set to work on fixing that. It was so interesting to watch the farmer teaching the new farm hand.

Time for lunch! Back to the house where Jo’s mum had prepared the most awesome spread. It was the most perfect day too. The sun was shining so we took food and drink into the gardens where we enjoyed a long and relaxed lunch. But our work for the day was not complete.

After lunch Jo and I went back down to the sheds to pick up the feed for the deer. I, in my most impressive ‘city girl’ moment, thought that when Jo had said we had to feed the deer, I imagined a Mary Poppins moment with the deer taking feed from my hand. Not so! Here is a pic of me trying, unsuccessfully, to reverse the bike under the grain dispenser (that is probably not the correct name either).

Reversing Unsuccessfully

I think I gave up after the third try and let Jo do the honors instead.

So the afternoon was spent feeding the deer and mustering some more sheep and then we finished off the day by feeding the gazillion farm dogs. Day 1 finishes at 6pm not too sunburnt – pretty impressive!

Feeding Deer



  1. […] Gayle pointed out in her post here, feeding the deer doesn’t involve tame hinds nibbling grains of wheat from an open palm, but […]

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